Contiguous Parishes (our neighbours)
Marden - North Newnton - Patney - Stanton St. Bernard - Wilsford - Woodborough
GenUKI - For information on Beechingstoke
University of Leicester's - Website for historical Wiltshire directories
Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre - Council website for archives and other material and information
Wiltshire Community History - Historical information for parishes within the Wiltshire County jurisdiction.
The Parish Church of St. Stephen
The first church is recorded in the parish in 1291. The church of St. Stephen, built of rubble and ashlar, has a chancel and a naive with a south porch. The chancel was rebult in 1791. The whole church was thoroughly restored in 1861; the wooden bell turret on the west end of the naive roof was replaced by a stone gable with two bells. The churchyard is renowned for its table tombs. There is a Yew tree with a girth of over 14 feet, probably 600 years old. St. Stephen Church Gallery Inside St. Stephen's St. Stephen Churchyard Gallery
Parish Register Transcripts
Parish Registers held at WSHC
Also known as Beeching or Beauchampstoke
Beechingstoke is halfway between Pewsey and Devizes, about 5 miles from each. In the late 18th Century the village comprised a schoolteacher's house and thatched cottages along a narrow lane, probably known as The Street.
A few cottages dating from 1773 can be found on the Woodborough and Marden roads; this area was later known as Piccadilly. The hamlet of Broad Street lies along the former Turnpike road to the east of the parish, and contains a few cottages, a butcher's shop and a corn merchant's store.
Beechingstoke Manor stands at the entrance to the village on the south side. An ancient track known as 'Frith Herpath' is a footpath forming part of the boundary of Beechingstoke. The roads through Broad Street and from Marden, as far as the junction with Puckshipton Lane, were turnpiked in 1840. The Manor of Puckshipton is within the parish. In 1970 there were only four farms in the parish - Manor, Bottle, and Puckshipton were dairy and arable farms, Stoke Farm was solely dairy.
The Berks & Hants Extension Railway opened in 1862. Woodborough station was north of Manor Farm on the site of the old Turnpike road. The station closed in 1966 and the building demolished.
1837 - Present Devizes Registration District
Buildings and Land
Built c1830 for Rev. Edward Caulfeild on the site of the rectory of 1743. It was listed on 19th March 1962. From 1986 to 2008 it was owned by Philip and Azalea Mayhew.
Crime and Legal Matters
In 1808, twelve children were taught to read at the Rector's expense. A school was supported by the incumbent and parishoners in 1818. Another began in 1833 supported by parents and was the attended by ten boys and girls. A new school and teachers' house were built in 1859 and fifteen children were taught there by a mistress, this school closed when Woodborough school opened in 1872 - children from Woodborough, North Newton, Bottlesford (then Wilsford) as well as Beechingstoke were educated there. By 1914 an average number of 121 infants and juniors attended. Numbers fell to 89 in 1922 and to 68 in 1970. The former schoolroom in Beechingstoke was used as a parish hall and the teachers' house sold as a private dwelling.
Emigration and Migration
Employment and Business
Non Conformity and Other Places of Worship
1841 the house of Isaac Tilley was registered for meetings
No chapels are recorded in the village.
People and Parish Notables
Census Returns Transcripts
The 1841 Census Return for Beechingstoke in unavailable since the original numerators book has been lost and probably destroyed.
County coroners were introduced in England in around 1194 once established other boroughs and liberties sought the right to have their own coroner. Often in Medieval times the coroner also assumed the role of the sheriff and his duties weren't limited to holding inquests on dead bodies although almost a full time post they were unpaid for the duties apart from those that were deemed murder of manslaughter when they would receive 13s. 4d. From the 24th June 1752 a law was passed allowing the coroner to claim £1 for every inquest they attended not held in a gaol and also to claim 9d per mile travel allowance from the place of residence. Inquests held in any gaol were performed at a rate totalling no more than £1. These costs were to be paid from the county rates. In cases of homicide the coroner also received the former fee of 13s. 4d. The coroners submitted their bills at the quarter session sittings for approval. Coroners Bills 1752-1796
Elections and Polls
Callis, John - Sound Engineer to Sir Paul McCartney
Poor Law, Charity and The Workhouse
Charities for the Poor
When the Revd Charles Mayo died in 1829, he bequeathed £100 stock, the income of which was to be used to buy clothing for the old and bibles and prayer books for the children who attended church regularly. In 1834 it was used to buy clothing. During 1867-69, the annual income was £3 and was apparently distributed in accordance with the original bequest but was afterwards variously given out in doles, blankets, bibles, prayer books for confirmation candidates.
1900 - four people received 10s each and two 5s each
1877 - the sale of some common land was sold to Lord Normanton for £42 and this was invested in a charitable fund.
1901 - the income of £1 4s 4d was paid into the parish coal fund.
The charities, which produced £1.2s and £2 10s respectively, were distributed together in 1969 among seven people who each received 10s at Christmas.
War, Conflict and Military Matters
We would like to thank Jean Barnwell for her efforts as OPC for this parish